Healthy Dietary Guidelines for Your Teen
By Ali Struhs
October 22, 2014
Keeping your family safe, happy, and healthy are your top priorities. Including your family in your healthy lifestyle goals is important to keep everyone healthy, not just you! So how can you responsibly monitor your teen’s weight? Because of their busy schedules that include school, jobs, homework, and extracurricular activities, teens often skip meals or reach for unhealthy snacks. It’s no surprise that teens are especially at risk for weight management issues, since being overweight or too skinny can cause serious health risks that run the gamut from diabetes to eating disorders. Here are a few healthy dietary guidelines for your teen.
Provide healthy food
Keep your refrigerator and pantry well stocked with food that provides the right balance of nutrients for your teenager. Make it easy for them to take their own sack lunches to school by planning ahead to purchase items from the grocery store to make sandwiches and to put fresh-cut vegetables in sandwich bags.
Provide on-the-go snacks, like apples, yogurt, and small baggies of a nut mix that they can take with them to school or to practice, and be sure to eliminate sugary, unhealthy foods and drinks, such as cookies, soda, and candy bars, from the kitchen. If you’re following the Jenny Craig weight loss program already, this step should already be complete!
Eat healthy as a family
Include a broad range of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains for your family. Plan meals ahead of time, so that on days with busy schedules, you know that your teen will be able to eat well without stopping for a fast food meal. Teens are still growing and should include plenty of calcium and iron in their diets, too. Practice eating as a family for at least breakfast and dinner so you can monitor what your child is eating at home.
Make it a point to exercise together as a family. Go for a day trip to the beach for swimming or bicycling on the boardwalk or to the mountains for a hike and a picnic. Even a game at the bowling alley or a round of laser tag can be fun exercise for your family. Make family fitness fun, instead of a chore for your teen.
If your teen is above a healthy weight range, the Jenny Craig program may work as a safe weight loss program. During the program, your teen will begin a journey to develop new eating and activity habits for long-term weight management. Speak with a consultant to decide if this is the best step for your family.